Ther world is in a crazy state right now, here at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. Entire countries are shutting down any non-essential businesses and asking or telling people to stay home. “Stay home and stay safe,” they say.
First, I want to reassure you, that as far as we know right now, dogs cannot get or spread COVID-19. So, there is no need to put a mask or boots on your dog. There is also no need to fear that your dog is a carrier of COVID-19.
But for your own sanity, you still have to walk your dog! Without his daily walk, your dog will go bonkers, literally bouncing off the walls. Or perhaps you just use walking the dog as an excuse to get out of the house and away from the kids for a minute. Either way taking your dog for a daily walk, or two, is still an important part of his care.
How To Safely Walk Your Dog During Quarantine
Depending on where you live you might have to take more precautions than others. If you live in the country your walks will probably look the same. If you live in a single-family home you might have to be a bit more cautious of your neighbors. If you live in an apartment complex you will need to take even more precautions to keep yourself safe.
First, of all, you need to protect yourself. Wear a mask and gloves if you have them, especially if you are in a more populated area. Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other people whenever possible. If you are feeling sick have someone else in the household walk the dog, if possible.
It is a good idea to wipe your dog’s paws off when he comes back in the house. He might have stepped on a place where an infected person sneezed or something. Use a wipe that is made for dogs, not an antibacterial wipe. Consistent use of anti-bacterial wipes may dry out the paws.
As a side note, it’s not a bad idea to wipe your dog’s paws off after a walk even when there isn’t a deadly virus going around. Herbicides and pesticides that are sprayed on lawns, as well as other chemicals, can be very damaging to a dog. So, once this is all over you might still want to wipe your dog’s paws off after a walk.
When you are out for a walk it is best to not touch other people’s dogs. You never know if they might have coughed into their hand and then patted their dog. Also, try not to let other people pet your dog. Again who knows where their hands have been. It is also a good idea to be cautious of letting your dog play with another dog. Again you don’t know what that dog could be carrying on his coat.
I wouldn’t worry too horribly much about COVID-19 being on your dog’s fur unless you see someone actually sneeze or cough on him. COVID-19 can last for a long time on smooth surfaces but doesn’t last nearly as long on porous surfaces like your dog’s skin and fur. Plus, a dog’s skin has it’s own defense mechanisms that may take out the virus should his skin come into contact with it.
Your dog still needs walks, even in quarantine. A lack of the mental and physical exercise that a walk provides can cause quite a lot of harm to our beloved pups. Not only is weight gain a potential issue but increase behavioral problems can result as well.
Besides, getting outside to walk your dog is also good for you! Being outside in the sun can boost your vitamin D levels which is great for many aspects of your health including mood, sleep cycle, and immune system. Walking in nature can also help to reduce stress and anxiety. If you can walk outside near plants, you will also get the added benefits of phytoncides which can help your immune system.
So, don’t stay inside just because you’ve been told to “shelter in place.” Get out there and walk your dog! It will be beneficial for both of you. If you are allowed to travel to a park that makes for an even better walk.